Monday, March 28, 2016

The Standard Army Breakast

Some of us were talking on a forum, and one wag made a comment about GI food tasting like shoe-leather.   While it's true that field rations were nothing to brag about, and food-service personnel are always trying to improve the quality of the food, I started reminiscing about what I called The Standard Army Breakfast.  Regardless of where I found myself, and which chow hall I wandered in to, The Standard Army Breakfast was uniformly consistent, and uniformly good.  Just what a young GI needed to make a day of running, jumping, toting stuff.

Invariably, the menu looked like this:

Eggs to order
Sausage
Ham
Bacon
Grits
Hash-brown potatoes
Chipped creamed beef
Biscuits
Pancakes
Waffles
Toast
Fresh fruit (banana, orange, apple)
Prepared cereal (varieties)
Coffee
Milk.

You could go through the line and carry off anything you could put on your tray.  My favorite was to get a double order of hash-browns, put two eggs (over easy) on top, then slather it all with creamed beef.  Put a couple of biscuits on the side to sop the gravy and egg yolks.

I ate a lot of tasteless food in the Army, but the one thing I could never complain about was breakfast in garrison.  Many times, after dropping-off my tray, I'd stick an apple or banana in my pocket for lunch.

Some of my favorite memories revolve around The Standard Army Breakfast.

Idit - Somehow I forgot to list Chipped Creamed Beef, although I talked about it in the later paragraph.  - - Thanks, Jim!

10 comments:

JimB said...

Hey PawPaw... You for got the SOS on your list. Army life wouldn't be the same without Creamed Chipped Beef

John said...

Navy chow was good, but not always perfect.
Sometimes the lobster was just a little over cooked, and even though you asked for your steak medium rare, it edged just a little bit towards medium.
Oh, and sometimes you could not get the air conditioning outlet in your rack to be just the right temperature.

FrankC said...

Admit it John. You're Air Force.

John said...

Frank, if I was Air Force I think the story would have involved waiters in the chow hall, maybe room service dining and probably caviar. Never ate at an Air Force facility, so I only heard stories.
I might have been stretching the truth a squeak, and I was talking about doing ACDUTRA on a sub tender based in Norfolk. They tended to eat very very well as most of the crew went home for dinner, and the meal budget for the duty section was larger than the normal for deployed ships.
My first ship was a World War Two era destroyer, Hawkins DD-873 and I slept on a laced canvas rack and ate of of a stainless steel tray. Things changed a lot during my eight active and seventeen years of reserve service.
Oh, the AC vent was real, but not a thermostat, just a little damper on the vent.

Old NFO said...

Y'all didn't get oatmeal/spackling compound??? We did, and the grits ranged from horrible to barely palatable... Otherwise, the same menu in the Navy.

DoninSacto1 said...

Com'on John. You were just funin us, right? I was in the Air Force and I never got any caviar in the chow hall. Although we had steaks in Viet Nam, they were sometimes a little tough. The chocolate milk was really tasty, and the fresh bake pies, man, they were good.

John said...

Chocolate milk?
I guess the Navy cooks didn't think to add cocoa powder to the powdered milk. Might have to try this one out on the home front.
We have some powdered milk sitting in the freezer next to some frozen bread, just in case we need to make emergency French Toast during a Philly snow event. (that way we can skip the otherwise obligatory shopping trip)
When Forrestal was in the Med in '74, and I was headed on watch for the the four to eights, I remember digging through the little boxes of cereal on the forward messdeck to find a good one, then I ruined it by failing to give the milk the sniff test.
Fresh baked goods were always a sheet cake or a sheet pie.
Forrestal did a once monthly steak and lobster tail birthday event on the forward mess deck when deployed. If you had a buddy detailed to the Master at Arms force, you could have a surprising number of birthdays.

Robert Fowler said...

My favorite was SOS with two over easy eggs on top. That was as close to biscuits and gravy as I could get. We had a steak cook out once, my steak still had the whip marks from the jockey. The best chow I ever had was at the Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego. Lunch was fresh trout with all the fixins. I heard for years the Air Force had the best chow but I never could seem to hit a AFB at meal time. USMC 73-77.

zdogk9 said...

Crats sucked, the mess hall shined excepting one cook in Georgia who served up grits that even Red Rooster couldn't make palatable, In Korea we had a Mess Sgt. who combined local cooking and army chow, almost 50 years after I find my self drooling.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree Naval Hospital Balboa had the best food although any ship's Chief' mess I was on was close and often better. Not made SOS in a while and suddenly have a taste for it.

Ben